Staff photo by Cole Dittmer
Pres Davenport has taken over the role of the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla committee chairman.
The North Carolina Holiday Flotilla will have a fresh face at the head of the event’s organizing committee as Pres Davenport assumes the role of chairman.
Linda Brown, who served as the flotilla’s chairman for the past few years, decided to step down after the 30th annual event in 2013.
Davenport, who had been serving on the committee in charge of media and public relations, decided to answer the call.
With his experience in the marketing, public relations and social media world, Davenport spearheaded the event’s marketing and social media campaigns for 2012 and 2013 and said he enjoys building the event each year.
“The great thing about the flotilla board in general is the fact that we run the event,” Davenport said. “You think of something you want to do and you can do it.”
One of the challenges the flotilla committee faces every year is keeping the event fresh and growing with ideas like the text-to-vote program launched in 2012, Davenport said.
“People responded really well to the text-to-vote program last year. … We got more than twice as many votes as the year before and more than twice as many people voted,” he said. “We also need to get more young people to enter boats because they get all their friends to come watch and vote, especially with the text-to-vote program.”
At one point in 2013, there were 35 boats signed up for the flotilla and 28 participated in the parade. That high level of participation was directly tied to the boat grand prize, Davenport said.
“The first year when I got there, we didn’t have a prize lined up until about a month before flotilla, and I think we wound up with around 14 boats,” he said. “This past year we had a prize lined up in July and were able to promote that for a long time.”
In addition to finding a sponsor for the grand prize, Davenport said he plans to spend time recruiting sponsorships from local corporations that previously contributed to the event, like General Electric and Corning.
One aspect of the flotilla weekend Davenport said he would like to see grow is the festival in the park. Ideas that have been voiced for the 2014 festival in the park include a food truck roundup, he said.
Davenport grew up watching the flotilla every year and was able to enjoy it with his 2-year-old son last year. Finding a way to keep the event alive for generations is what serving on the committee is all about, he said.
“It is a balance because every year you want to keep it similar but fresh so we are trying to find that,” Davenport said.